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    Tuesday, August 28, 2012

    Dragon*Con, Here I come

    It's the most wonderful time of the year...
    No, silly, not the winter holiday season.  I'm talking about Dragon*Con, where you too can be surrounded by forty thousand of the closest friends and acquaintances you never met before--like these charmers.

    I'll be doing my thing on five panels this year:

    Friday, August 31, 1 p.m. (Hyatt, Fairlie Meeting Room)
    Talking Cats and Clever Rats--Animals as symbols and characters in SF and fantasy.
    Panelists: Lynn Abbey, Diane Hughes, Jean Marie Ward (Moderator)

    Saturday, September 1, 2:30 p.m. (Hyatt, Greenbriar Meeting Room)
    Good War/Bad War--How have recent conflicts shaped or influenced today's SF?
    T.C. McCarthy, Jean Marie Ward (Moderator), Michael Z. Williamson

    Sunday, September 2, 5:30 p.m. (Hyatt, Greenbriar Meeting Room)
    Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading--Well-known and up-and-coming women writers read from their works.
    Too many writers to count.  ;-)

    Monday, September 3, 1 p.m. (Hyatt, Fairlie Meeting Room)
    SF Win, Lose or Draw--The third annual Win, Lose or Draw competition comes to Dragon*Con.  Put together a team or join one when you arrive.

    Monday, September 2, 2:30 p.m. (Hyatt, Embassy D-F)
    Writer's Wonder Panel--Writers discuss the wonders--good and bad--of being a writer.
    Lynn Abbey, Carole Nelson Douglas, Nancy Knight, Jennifer St. Giles, Jean Marie Ward, Janny Wurts

    Looking forward to seeing you there!


    Monday, August 20, 2012

    Old Town Synchronicity

    You just can't make this stuff up. Last week, Diane Whiteside received a letter from a fan of her novel, The Shadow Guard. The fan was seeking the grave of Col. John Fitzgerald, aide-de-camp to George Washington at Valley Forge and prominent Alexandria cit mentioned in Diane's book. When the usual sources (Wiki, Google, etc.) came up empty, Diane asked me if any of my friends at Alexandria's historic Carlyle House might know. I promised to ask the next time I volunteer (sometime after Dragon*Con). In the meantime, I started rooting around in my local library.

    Fitzgerald was the driving force behind Old Town Alexandria's first Catholic Church, St. Mary's, so I started with the records for St. Mary's Cemetery, copies which are conveniently located in every Alexandria branch library. From there I went to compilations of The Alexandria Gazette obituaries and the records of the Hustings Court. (Fitzgerald was a big wheeler dealer on the local real estate front.) I confirmed his town home was located on the corner of King and Fairfax Streets, where the main branch of Burke and Herbert Bank now stands, but hey, that's a no brainer. They've even got a plaque to that effect on the bank.

    Today Diane and I met for lunch. By some odd quirk of timing, we drove into the Market Square parking garage in Old Town at the same time. We planned to lunch at O'Connell's but power was off on that side of the street, so I asked, "Would you like to eat Italian? There's Landini Brothers and Il Porto across the street. Which one would you prefer?"

    "Landini Brothers--you mentioned it first."

    After lunch we headed for the Queen Street branch of the Alexandria library, home of the local history collection. Julia, the librarian on duty, wasn't quite sure where to look. I'd already searched the St. Mary's records. So we rooted around in the transcriptions of Alexandria tombstones. Nada. Then Julia pulled out Ethelyn Cox's Historic Alexandria Virginia Street by Street. It contained a page on Fitzgerald's King Street warehouse which noted his burial site as Warburton Plantation, the present site of Fort Washington.

    Oh, and the warehouse? It's the same building where we ate lunch.

    I love Alexandria.